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When I was new to the world of managed print services, I was overwhelmed by the amount of jargon in our industry. It seems like we have an acronym for everything in the managed print space, so I put together this list of 10 need-to-know acronyms. Rather than simply defining these terms, I'll provide some insights into how you can use them to provide value for your customers.
One of the hurdles dealers and resellers must overcome when selling managed print is communicating the value proposition instead of deferring to generic industry acronyms. Every prospect has their own set of unique business needs and blanket acronyms like ASF and CPP don't address their concerns, nor do they show them how managed print can help.
Whether you're new to selling managed print or you're a long-time veteran, it's important to not just know what these acronyms stand for, but to understand their significance when it comes to creating value for customers.
1. MPS – You're probably familiar with this acronym. It’s the reigning champion of acronyms, largely because all others are, at some point in time, enveloped under the large umbrella of managed print services. MPS is defined by the MPSA (another good one to know, MPSA stands for the Managed Print Services Association) as “the active management and optimization of business processes related to documents and information, including input and output devices” (Source: The Imaging Channel).
What does this mean for end users? Putting this high-level definition into concrete terms that communicate the value of MPS for prospects and customers is key. Managed print is more than documents and devices; it's the proactive management of print devices and processes. A successful program can increase efficiency, reduce environmental waste, and provide customers with significant cost savings.
2. ASF – Many industry insiders and commentators have noted that managed print is the last industry to see technology trends come to fruition. But as various industries have made leaps and bounds in automation, so too has the imaging industry. Automated supplies fulfillment leverages everything from device data to the IoT capabilities of smart devices to make supplies management easy for distributors, resellers, and end users. Long gone are the days of time-consuming reactive supply ordering. Automated supplies fulfillment programs are not just a great starting point for customers new to MPS, but can be a valuable add-on for customers that have existing managed print programs.
3. DMS – Like many other software management systems, document management systems focus on storage, management, and tracking. In this instance, the system manages electronic documents such as electronic images of paper-based information captured by a document scanner. It should come as no surprise that some of your potential customers will have document management systems in place and are looking to add MPS or integrate it with their existing solutions. Consider the value you can offer customers by facilitating this integration, if not building it out (as this may fall outside of your technical purview), and then offering access to open APIs so that they may complete any middleware necessary to create the solution that works for them.
4. ERP – As open APIs continue to enable highly customized solutions, businesses look to management systems like enterprise resource planning to collect, store, organize, and manage data relating to supply chains, procurement, inventory, finance, projects, and more. What does this mean for your prospects? Some may already have ERP cloud systems in place or may be looking to incorporate them, so be sure to highlight the data-driven functionalities of managed print. Like ERP software, MPS software focuses on the collection and analysis of data, and both systems can help clients manage their businesses and ensure that decisions are data-driven.
5. CPP – Cost per page is a one of the three prominent billing models used by MPS providers, the others being per-seat billing and transactional. Depending on which vertical or sector your customers are working in, one billing model may be better suited to their needs. The best way to determine which is better is to look at the existing services they're using and your own offerings. Does it make more sense for you to continue with your current model or switch? Managed print can be a valuable add on, but only if you give your customers choice and flexibility. By exploring multiple options for billing, you're in a position to sell MPS to customers in a variety of different markets and sectors.
6. P&L – One of the high-level metrics used to determine the profitability of a business is a profit and loss statement. These financial statements summarize the revenue, costs, and expenses incurred during a specific period of time. These may not be immediately beneficial to the sales or IT prospects you're speaking with, but these are the types of metrics that concern their managers and executive-level management. What are the expected profits and losses to come from adding managed print? Six months into the program, what will this statement look like? These are the types of questions to consider and discuss with prospects so they can, in turn, present the value of your services to the decision-makers.
7. QBR – Quarterly business reviews are another valuable tool that can be used to measure the success of a managed print program and ensure that it is in line with a business’ overall strategic objectives. As the name suggests, these should be held once per quarter and serve as both a retrospective of the previous quarter and a prospective of next quarter. QBRs will help sales and IT teams ensure they are on the same page, bridge any gaps in knowledge and expectations, and help keep team activities strategically aligned with company goals.
8. ROI – This is one that sales teams will undoubtedly be familiar with, but some of the IT prospects you speak with may not be as familiar. Return on investment is another financial metric used to measure the success of an investment by comparing returns and costs. ROI is another figure which may be of more immediate interest to managers and executives when examining the success of a managed print program, but you should stress that managed print can positively affect the return dealers and resellers are seeing on their MFPs (multifunction printers). From supplies to service, bringing devices under an MPS contract can increase performance and efficiency, as well as drive MPS revenue.
9. KPI – For prospects and customers who are new to managed print and have yet to determine a process for reviewing the performance of their MPS program, key performance indicators will help them identify their strengths and weaknesses, and plan or adjust their strategic direction as necessary. KPIs can include metrics such as the number of new customers, number of devices managed, customer satisfaction, and more.
10. SLA – For dealers and resellers, a good service level agreement can mean the difference between an effective managed print program and one plagued by communication mishaps, downtime, and confusion about performance benchmarks. You can offer potential customers more than just software by providing them with program and technical support. This can include everything from onboarding and implementation to education. SLAs are one of the tools you can use to sign new MPS deals and help customers understand the value you provide.
Looking for a more complete overview of the managed print industry? Check out our free Complete Guide to MPS ebook!
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